Saturday, 17 March 2012


Hello again! It is soon time again for Ostara / The Spring Equinox! I am holding a Family Ostara festival today and I got up extra early this morning to prepare so I decided to take a few minutes to post about what we are doing for Ostara.

1st off Ostara is the the spring equinox, the 1st day of Spring. This year the equinox is on Tuesday, March 20th. The equinox, for those that do not know, is the time of year that there is equal daylight and dark as the sun crosses the celestial equator. It happens twice a year, once in Spring and once in autumn

The Spring Equinox is scared to the Goddess Eoster, a Saxon great Goddess of fertility and rebirth. Her symbols include rabbits, eggs and birds. This explains the presence of them in the Christian holiday of Easter as the Church combined the holidays when they were trying to convert the European pagans. The themes of rebirth and spring fit quite nicely with the theme of Christ's resurrection. 
Less known and celebrated, the Spring Equinox is also sacred to Blodeuwedd, the fairy queen giver of life. The equinoxes are a time when the veil between the worlds are thin and are a time when the fairies come out to play. Its a great time to honour the fair folk.

To celebrate this year we are having a potluck festival where everyone brings a dish made of the  traditional foods of the year such as: eggs (obviously), greens, lamb and dairy. My spouse and I will be making a lamb Stew. Here is a traditional Lamb Stew recipe (makes 4 servings):

  • 1 1/2 pounds lamb stew meat
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 large onions, quartered
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

  • Directions
  1. In a Dutch oven, brown meat in 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Remove with a slotted spoon; set aside. Add onions, carrots and remaining oil to pan. cook for 5 minutes or until onions are tender, stirring occasionally. add potatoes, broth, salt, pepper and lamb. bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes or until meat and vegetables are tender.
  1. With a slotted spoon, remove meat and vegetables to a large bowl; keep warm. Pour pan juices into another bowl; set aside. In the Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in pan juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the parsley, chives, thyme, and meat and vegetables; heat through.

Every year I dedicate the festival to the children in the community as they are the living symbols of new life. So last year I had a children's festival where I had Ostara themed crafts like egg decorating, egg hunts, games like egg toss and storytelling. This year I am continuing that tradition. 

I have also set up a fairy altar under the biggest tree in our yard (I am lucky enough to have a big enough property to hold the festival on). Blodeuwedd is a Flower Woman and so the altar is decorated with lots of flowers. The children (and anyone else that would like to) will leave offerings on the altar to the fairies. Suggested offerings to the fairies are: honey, milk, candy, shiny baubles, crystals, flowers and artwork. 

For the adults attending (though the kids can take part) we are doing a seed blessing for seeds that people are planning to plant in their gardens. Think of a project that you want to start or something you would like to bring into your life over the long term. Enchant your seeds so that as they grow the thing you are trying to achieve grows as well. The spell we are using is:
"Creatures of Earth Bring Strength and Mirth! 
          As you grow so shall ____
As you flourish, so shall ____
As you mature, so shall _____
As I harvest your bounty, so shall I harvest the rewards of _____
Eostre, Lady of Spring, bless these seeds and all they bring. 
So mote it be."

I recommend using a plant you plan  to harvest such as veggies and herbs instead of ornamental flowers. Also a note of caution. Make sure you take very good care of these plants and they are now sacred and if you let them whither and die, so may your wish/project. 

And other thing we shall be doing is anyone who wishes can make enchanted eggs. You take an egg (fresh or hard boiled) and decorate it with symbols and runes of things you want in your life. Eggs are a potent symbol of fertility so they are great for bringing you what you want. When you finish decorating them put the eggs on your altar or in your garden (they are also great fertilizer). 

I hope these ideas inspire you in your own celebrations. And here are some other correspondences to help you as well:
Colours: All pastels are appropriate, especially greens, yellows and pinks.
Incense: Flowery incenses are best such as violet, honeysuckle and narcissus, also lemon.
Flowers: All flowers are great. Especially daffodils, jonquils, tulips, violets, narcissus and crocus. 

I wish you all a very joyful Ostara! 

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